Bishop Mark Lawrence writes about the Death of his Mother Berrtha

When [my sister] called on Monday, December 10th to inform me that my mother was failing very quickly Allison and I immediately booked a flight for the next morning. We flew to LAX arriving just before noon, rented a car and made the three plus hour drive up the coast, all the while praying that we would arrive in time.

When we got to my sister’s house in Santa Margarita my mother (having insisted my sister have her up) was sitting on the couch with our daughter Adelia, who lives nearby. We spent an hour and a half together talking and laughing. She was lucid and in possession of her faculties, though it was an effort for her to speak. Around 5:00 p.m. she requested to go to bed. Our daughter later told us she thought my mother was going to die some 45 minutes before we arrived but she gently shook her awake and said, “Hold on grandma they are nearly here.” Later I went into her room and read some psalms to her. My brother-in-law soon joined me””I sitting on one side of the bed and he on the other as I read one psalm after another. At one point George and I began to talk about the current challenges the diocese and I were facing with the Episcopal Church. It soon became obvious my mother was listening. I had told her of the various developments in the past months so we she was aware of the challenges. I should tell you I grew up at Trinity United Methodist Church. My mother had been “Mrs. Methodist”””a delegate to District and National Conferences, President of her United Methodist Women and a recipient of the Bishop’s Award. So I looked at her and with a smile jokingly said””“Mom, I guess you were right, I should have stayed a Methodist!” She looked up at me with that knowing look, unable to say much, gave only nod. After dinner I went in and prayed with her the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, parting Prayers, and kissed her good night. As Allison observed later her body was entirely spent. By 5:00 a.m. the next morning, December 12, 2012 she had passed through the curtain that separates this life from that which is to come and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

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